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Application Program Interface (API)

When a program (application) accesses another to manage it by remote control, it uses an API. Using the Graphicmail API a website can for instance add a new subscribe to a particular list, or initiate a send.


Above-the-fold or sill (preview pane in your email client)

The part of a web page or email client that is visible without scrolling. If you have a 'Join our mailing list' or 'Subscribe now' tag on your website, place it 'above the fold/sill' - it makes it easy for visitors and clients to opt-in and opt-out.


Absolute link

All newsletter or graphic emails require an absolute link (as opposed to relative) for the images on the email be visible. For example:

Relative link, img src="images/GraphicMail_logo.gif "

Absolute link; img src=""

The image must be parked (uploaded to the website address) in the appropriate folder designated by the URL address.


Affirmative consent

Indicates that permission has been given by the recipient for you to send them emails. The recipient has been clearly  and fully  notified of the collection and use of his/her email address and has consented prior to such collection and GM account use (subject to the privacy statement and terms and conditions, and the laws and regulations applying in the country of receipt). Affirmative consent is considered the world's best practice in this arena. It is therefore required by all reputable email marketing companies and ISP services.



A text, video, graphic, PDF or any other file that accompanies an email message but is not included in the message itself. Attachments are not a good way to send email newsletters because many ISPs, email clients and individual email recipients block attachments, as hackers often use them to deliver viruses and other malicious code.



A program, script, plugin or any other software solution that automatically sends a response/alert to a specified email contact when someone sends a message to its address. The most common uses of auto-responders are for subscribe (opt-in) and unsubscribe (opt-out) confirmations, welcome emails and customer support questions. Industry's best practice is to have a double opt-in; after you subscribe you receive an email alert requesting you to respond by clicking on a link to confirm your voluntary subscription.


Australian Spam Act, 2004

The Australian Spam Act 2003 was brought into existence to alleviate and halt the unsolicited sending of email, or 'spam'. This was followed by the Spam (Consequential amendments) Act 2003 and Spam Regulations 2004.



A refusal by an ISP or email server to forward your email message to the recipient. Many ISPs block emails from IP addresses or domains that have been reported to send spam or viruses, or have content that violates email policy or spam filters.


Block list – see suppression list


Bulk folder (also junk folder)

Where many email clients send messages that appear to be from spammers, contain spam, or are from any sender who is not in the recipient's address book or contact list. Some clients allow the recipient to override the system's settings and direct that mail from a suspect sender be sent directly

to the inbox. E.g., Yahoo!Mail gives recipients a button marked Not Spam on every message in the bulk folder.


Bounced email

A bounced email is one in which the address was either wrongly typed, the delivery address is no longer active (intended recipient has changed email address) or the domain address (this is the address after the '@' in the email address) is no longer active.






An email marketing message or a series of like-minded messages designed to accomplish an overall goal.


CAN-SPAM Act of 2003

The United States of America introduced this Federal anti-spam legislation. It was passed in 2003 and requires the following in each email: a legitimate header, a valid ‘From’ address and a straightforward

‘Subject’ line. Also required by the act is an unsubscribe/opt-out option and/or instructions and a physical address. It also requires that all unsubscribes are processed within ten days of receipt.


Challenge request

An automated message forwarded by the receipt of an email, specifically for the purpose of identifying the sender as a trusted source. The forwarded response requests the sender of the email to act on certain instructions in order to validate themselves. If the sender provides a valid response, his email address is added to the recipient's whitelist of trusted senders, and his message is passed along to the recipient.


Click-through and click-through tracking

When a link is included in an email, a click-through occurs when a recipient clicks on the link. Click- through tracking refers to the data collected about each click-through link, such as how many people clicked it, who clicked it, how many clicks resulted in desired actions such as sales, forwards or subscriptions.


Confirmed opt-in (required by The European anti-spam Directive)

A more controlled method of obtaining permission to send email campaigns. Confirmed opt-in adds an additional step to the opt-in process. It requires the subscriber to respond to a confirmation email, either by clicking on a confirmation link, or by hitting the reply button, thus confirming their subscription. Only subscribers who take this additional step are added to the list.


CPM (or Cost Per Thousand)

In email marketing terminology, CPM commonly refers to the cost per 1000 names on a given rental list. For example, on a rental list priced at $250AUS, CPM would mean that the list owner charges

$0.25AU per email address.  Alternatively it can mean the cost of sending 1000 emails.


CTR (or click-through rate)

The number of unique clicks divided by the number of emails that were opened, expressed as a percentage.


Conversion rate

The percentage of emailed recipients who responded to your specific email marketing campaign or promotion. This is the measure of your email marketing campaign's success. Your conversions can be measured in all things related to the campaign, that is, sales, phone calls, appointments and so on.


Double opt-in

A process that requires new list joiners to take an action (such as clicking on an emailed link to a personal  confirmation  page)  in  order  to  confirm  that  they  want  to  be  on  the  list.  Sometimes interpreted incorrectly by some email broadcast vendors to mean a new subscriber who does not opt- out of, or bounce, a welcome message.



Email blocking

Email blocking typically refers to blocking by ISPs. Emails that are blocked are not processed through the ISP and are essentially prevented from reaching their addressed destination. Most ISPs actively block email coming from suspected spammers or tag the subject line 'SUSPECTED SPAM'.


Email newsletter ads or sponsorships

Buying ad space (just like you do in a newspaper) in an email newsletter or sponsoring a specific article or series of articles that target the audience represented by the list that is used. Advertisers pay to have their ad (plain text, HTML or both depending on the publication) inserted into the body of the email.



Email Service Provider.


Event triggered email

Pre-programmed messages sent automatically, based on an event such as a date or anniversary.


Ezine (also e-zine)


Another name for an email newsletter, adapted from electronic zine or electronic magazine.

An e-zine is an American term used to describe an electronic magazine or newsletter emailed to a list of subscribers. As described above, advertisers pay to have their ad (plain text, HTML or both, depending on the publication) inserted into the body of the email. Buying ad space in an e-zine or email newsletter, or sponsoring a specific article or series of articles, allow advertisers to reach a targeted audience, thus hoping to drive traffic to a specific website, store or office. This also instigates (hopefully) sign-ups to a newsletter or improves sales of a product or service.


False positive

Legitimately subscribed permission-based email that is blocked due to the limitations of current email blocking and filtering techniques utilised by the ISP. False positives are an industry-wide problem. It is estimated by some sources that around 20% of permission-based email is erroneously blocked by either anti-spam software or incorrectly installed server-based solutions.



A web language to animate design resulting in more dynamic content.


From line or sender line

The from line has two parts: part one is the ‘From’ name -- for example ‘Joe Blow. Part two is the

‘From’ address -- the electronic address including @, such as Your

recipients may see only the ‘from’ name, the ‘from’ address, or both, depending on the configuration of their email client and the email client software used.


Hard bounce/Soft bounce

A hard bounce (described in the Bounced email entry above) is the failed delivery of an email due to a permanent issue like a non-existent address. A soft bounce is the failed delivery of an email due to a temporary issue, like a full mailbox, server down, congestion on the net or outage.


House List (enterprise list)

A permission-based (fully opted-in) list that you build yourself. Used to market, promote your product or service and build a relationship with your clients. Your house list is truly your most valuable asset. In the marketing world they say it is '7 times less expensive to market to an existing customer than it is to acquire a new one'.


HTML email

An email that is formatted using HTML, or Hypertext Markup Language, instead of plain text. HTML makes it possible to include unique fonts, graphics, background colours and other visuals. Flash visuals (high-quality animated visuals) and other high-end marketing techniques can be written into the email of story pages, but should not be sent in the main email. To view the HTML email, simply right-click and view the source code. HTML makes an email more engaging. When used properly and with style it can generate much higher response rates than plain text.



An expression that simply refers to HTML email, as described above. When most people think of email, they think of plain text. When you use the term ‘newsletter’ in marketing, it conjures up a whole range of new opportunities.


ISP / Internet Service Provider.

Typically ISPs provide mail and web hosting, as well as providing access (such as ADSL).


Landing page

A web page that is directly linked from an email for the purpose of providing additional information on products or services promoted in the email. Also called story pages.



Text links, hyperlinks, graphics or images that, when clicked sends the client to another online location (for example a landing page or other pages of a website). Links in emails are a source of action. Links need to be visible, appealing, clear and inviting.



A Microsite, is a mini website used to archive your past newsletters. A unique URL link is given to you so the microsite can used as a portfolio of your past newsletter and templates, linked from your own website.


Open rate

The percentage of emails opened in any given email marketing campaign, or the percentage opened of the total number of emails sent.


Opt-in (or Subscribe)

To opt-in or subscribe to an email list is to choose to receive email communications by supplying your email address to a particular company, website or individual, thereby giving them permission to email


you. The subscriber can often indicate areas of personal interest (for example, surfing, cars) or indicate what types of emails he/she wishes to receive from the sender (for example, newsletters, sales campaigns, offers too good to resist). If you are not sure, read the privacy statement; reputable email marketing companies usually have a direct link to their privacy statement and an explanation of how they will use your email address, for example, on opting in you may imply permission for the company to sell your address to like-minded businesses. Always check to see if you can opt-out with the click of a button.


Opt-out (or Unsubscribe)

To opt-out or unsubscribe from an email list is to choose not to receive communications from the sender by requesting the removal of your email address from their list. Industry best practice is to offer at least two ways to opt-out, one being an opt-out link in the email and the other being a link provided to your website with the opportunity to opt-out there.


Outage (downtime)

The interruption of automated processing systems, support services or essential business operations which may result in the organization's inability to provide service for some period of time.


Permission-based email

Email sent to recipients or subscribers who have opted-in or subscribed or have given inferred permission to be sent email communications from a particular company, website or individual. Whichever way you look at it, permission is an absolute prerequisite for legitimate email marketing.



A targeting method in which an email message appears to have been created only for a single recipient.  Personalisation  techniques  include  adding  the  recipient's  name  in  the  subject  line  or message body, or the message offer reflects a purchasing, link clicking, or transaction history.



Phishing refers to email scams which have the purpose of identity theft. Identity thieves send fraudulent email messages with return addresses, links, and branding that appear to come from credit card companies, banks and some of the web's most well-known sites including eBay®, PayPal®, NINEMSN®, Yahoo® and COMMBANK, to name just a few. These messages are designed to ‘phish’ for personal and financial information (for example, passwords, usernames, social security numbers, credit card numbers, mother's maiden name, and so on) from the recipient. For examples, visit


Pre-existing business relationship

The recipient of your email has made a purchase, requested information, responded to a questionnaire or a survey, or had offline contact with you, in other words, has given inferred permission for you to email them.


Privacy policy

A clear description of a website or company's policy on the use of information collected from and about  website  visitors  and  subscribers.  Your  privacy  policy  is  an  opportunity  for  visitors  and subscribers to assess your integrity and to establish an open and honest relationship with all who subscribe. It is wise to remember that most Western governments have established legislation to support and protect individuals' privacy. Know your boundaries.



Where an email message goes after you send it, before the list server gets around to sending it.


Rental list (or Acquisition list)

A list of prospective clients, or a targeted group of recipients who have opted-in to receive information about certain subjects. Using permission-based rental lists, marketing companies can send email messages to audiences targeted by interest category, profession, demographics and more. Be sure your rental list is a certified permission-based, opt-in list. Permission-based lists are rented or leased, seldom sold.


Relative URL

All newsletter or graphic emails require absolute addressing (as opposed to relative) for the images on the email to generate correctly and be visible, for example:

Relative link; img src="images/GraphicMail_logo.gif", this will work within a root system on a website situated on a server and on your own computer, but not in a newsletter. Emails require absolute URLs. For example,

Absolute link; img src=""

The image must be parked (uploaded to the Graphicail users account or site address) in the appropriate folder designated by the URL and can be called from anywhere on the net.




Return on Investment. From an email marketing perspective, understanding this number helps you determine where to put your advertising dollars, which campaigns are performing best, what percentage of your investments are turning directly into income, and how much it costs you to find and retain clients.



RSS (Really Simple Syndication)

A format for delivering regularly changing web content. Many news-related sites, weblogs and other online publishers syndicate their content as an RSS feed, to whoever wants it.



Dividing or separating your email list based on interest categories, purchasing behaviour, demographics and more for the purpose of targeting email marketing campaigns to the audience most likely to respond.



A tagline or short block of text at the end of an email message that identifies the sender and provides additional information such as company name and contact information. US law requires that you have your name and company address in the signature. A good footer also invites a marketing opportunity.


Single opt-in

Once the most widely accepted and routinely used method of obtaining email addresses and permission. A single opt-in list is created by inviting visitors and customers to subscribe to your email list. When you use a sign-up form on your website, a message immediately goes out to the subscriber acknowledging the subscription (a good example of an auto-responder). This message should reiterate what the subscriber has signed up for and provide an immediate way for the subscriber to edit her interests or opt-out. Industry best practice now dictates a double opt-in.


Spam or UCE (Unsolicited Commercial Email)

Email sent to someone who has not opted-in or given inferred permission to the sender to send any mail to them. Our definition of SPAM is: "It's spam if it is both unsolicited and has no inferred connection to the receiver or receivers". Our technical interpretation is: "the recipient's personal identity and context are irrelevant because the message is equally applicable to many other potential recipients; and

the recipient has not verifiably granted deliberate and explicit permission for it to be sent, that is, opted-in or subscribed to receive the received email; and

the transmission and reception of the message appears to the recipient to give a disproportionate benefit to the sender.”



The falsification of an email header so that the email appears to have originated from someone or somewhere other than the actual source.


Subject line

The short line of text in an email that indicates what the message is about. Your subject line should be short and it should include a specific benefit that accurately reflects your offer in order to be effective. The subject line's importance cannot be overstated. Most international Spam Acts and Directives prohibit the use of misleading subject lines.



The process of joining a mailing list, by filling out a web form, or offline by filling out a form or requesting to be added verbally (if you accept verbal subscriptions, you should safeguard yourself by recording them and storing recordings along with time and date, in a retrievable format).



The person who has specifically requested to join a mailing list. A list has both subscribers who receive the message from the sender (forward to a friend subscribes).


Suppression list (also block list)

A list of email addresses whose owners have asked to be removed from future mailings. If you use multiple email products, or have multiple databases from which you send emails, you should use a suppression list or blocklist filters to process unsubscribe requests across all lists.



Selecting a target audience or group of individuals likely to be interested in a certain product or service. To get the best out of a campaign, analyse your list and target accordingly. Targeted campaigns yield a higher response rate and result in fewer unsubscribes.


Text-only newsletter


Plain newsletter with words only, no colours, graphics, fonts or pictures; can be received by anyone who has email.



Triggers send automated follow-up emails based on the recipient's reaction to an email you've sent to them. Triggers can be set up to send a time-delayed email when the recipient clicks on the link or opens an email. They're great for sending thank-you emails or for sending coupons to people who've clicked on a product.


To remove oneself from an email list, either filling in a web form – clicking the unsubscribe link in the footer.


URL (or Universal Resource Locator)

Put simply, a URL indicates a website, web page or any other document address or location on the internet. URLs indicate the location of every file on every computer accessible through the internet.


USP (Unique Selling Proposition)

Your USP is the unique attribute of your business that makes your company, product or service the best solution to a problem, the best way to fulfil a need or desire or the best way to achieve a goal. Your USP answers the prospective recipient’s question: "Why should I do business with you instead of someone else?"


Viral Marketing

A  type  of  marketing  that  is  carried  out  voluntarily  by  the  targeted company's  customers. The electronic equivalent of 'word-of-mouth advertising'. Email has made this type of marketing both relevant and prevalent. Tools such as ‘send this page or ‘email to a friend’ encourage people to refer or recommend your company’s product, service or a specific offer to others.